The Genocide Amendment Is To Go Back To The House Of Lords

On 9 February 2021, the UK Government avoided defeat at the House of Commons (by 318 to 303) after the Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill was grouped with another amendment and subject to one vote for both. The results also comes hours after media outlets reported that some Tory MPs have been subjected to pressures to comply and vote against the Genocide Amendment or face consequences.

The Genocide Amendment enables the High Court to consider and make a preliminary determination of genocide in cases where the UK’s trading partner stands accused of committing genocide. Where the High Court makes the determination of genocide, it would refer the trade deal back to Parliament to have the final say and the Government to act upon. Read more here.

The Genocide Amendment would have led to the UK taking control over its genocide determination and fulfilling its duties under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The Genocide Amendment would make the UK the first country in the world to allow genocide determination being done by a domestic court and fully divorced from political considerations.

The Genocide Amendment is to go back to the House of Lords as ping pong continues.

While the result of today’s political game is highly disappointing and does not give much hope that the UK Government is taking the issue of genocide seriously, the Genocide Amendment has been uniting many fronts to send a clear message that we cannot trade with states committing genocide.

We need to put victims of genocide first, not states trading genocide. We need to care for the victims of genocide, not the diplomatic relationship with states perpetrating genocide. The choice is not between what is right and ‘righter’; the choice is between what is right and what is wrong. Trading with states perpetrating genocide and doing business as usual is pure wrong.

We Need To Do More To Address Genocide And The Genocide Amendment Is The First Step

We need to do more to address genocide and the Genocide Amendment is the first step in the right direction.

Today, the House of Commons considers Lords’ amendments to the Trade Bill. Among them is the Genocide Amendment, tabled by Lord Alton of Liverpool, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, Baroness Falkner of Margravine, and Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. The Genocide Amendment aims to equip the High Court of England and Wales to make a determination of genocide, a determination that could be then subsequently used to revoke international bilateral trade agreements with the state standing accused of committing genocide. The Genocide Amendment received significant support of 287 to 161, ultimately affirming that one should not trade with states perpetrating genocide.

The House of Commons will vote on the Genocide Amendment around 5:20PM. Contact your MP! Ask to support! Ask to stand with victims and survivors and not with genocidal states! Time to put our priorities right!